How To Tap into Our Senses for a Feel Good Home
We all know about our five senses, but we might not realize that everything we see, hear, touch, taste and smell influences both our emotions and our experience of wellbeing in our homes.
How can we access these senses for a feel-good home?
The first thing we notice about our own homes is visual. If we take note of the five senses and how they affect our home, we will feel more relaxed.
The sense of taste
Families have grown apart in recent decades as far as eating together is concerned. Change is long overdue as what we eat and where we eat go hand in hand with our wellbeing. If we can eat together as a family it can be very beneficial even if it only happens a couple of times a week. If you can ensure a welcoming space in your home for eating together this can mean an important sensory connection at mealtimes. If you are especially fortunate, meal preparation and setting the table can be delegated so that everyone gets involved. Ideally, decide on a regular mealtime get together so that it becomes a fixture in your diary.
Experiencing your own sense of taste can be done in many small ways, beginning with simple things like adding a bit of lemon and mint to your water or bigger things like trying an unusual ingredient from time to time.
The sense of touch
Touch in the home can mean all those surfaces and materials that affect where we sit, where we sleep and where we walk. Are they soft to the touch where appropriate, providing a positive sensory stimulation or are they rough or scratchy, having the opposite effect?
Touch has a surprising impact on our bodies. One such impact can lead to lower backpain if we have a poor sitting posture. It might be time to look at each room in the house to see where improvements could be made to create positive emotional experiences.
Things like running your fingers through your pet's soft fur, or even sinking your toes into a thick rug can help you feel a lot more relaxed. Since everything around the house is about touch, take your time to slowly feel things, and let them heighten your senses.
The sense of hearing
Is your home quiet and peaceful or noisy and excitable? Apparently, the sounds we hear within our living spaces play a massive role in our happiness. One suggestion is to sit somewhere quiet near an open window or door so you can hear and enjoy the sounds of nature. An alternative is to listen to an audio recording. If we can listen to birdsong for example, we could well find that it lowers our stress levels.
Enjoying music (depending on the genre) can be uplifting or relaxing. Our sense of hearing is important, so the sounds surrounding our atmosphere become a very important factor when it comes to our mood. Play music while you're at home but select songs which are soft and calm.
The sense of smell
We certainly do not want our sense of smell to be assailed with strong chemicals or artificial fragrances which can be very harmful to us too. Instead, the scent of fresh flowers or candles made from a natural and renewable source will be soothing and comforting. We need fragrances that offer potent and positive sensory responses within our homes.
Even taking the time to cook dishes in the kitchen can be a calming experience, since you're able to enjoy the different smells and fragrances without being pressed for time.
The sense of sight
We need to see things in our homes that make us smile, creating a reaction in the brain and releasing hormones including dopamine and serotonin. Special possessions when displayed can trigger happy memories of travels or times with friends or family, even bringing feelings of comfort and security. Our homes should include our favorite colors, photographs, keepsakes, artworks and more as these can be paramount to our happiness.
Take a breather after a long day, or during the weekend, and sit yourself somewhere with a view. It could be out in your balcony, or even in your room facing a serene view outside the window - and give yourself some time to relax.
Some children are especially sensitive and could suffer from sensory overload. In fact, 15 to 20% of all children are born highly sensitive, meaning they can be deeply reflective, sensitive to those things that non-HSC are not, and can be easily overwhelmed. We have written on this subject here.
If you would like to find out more about living in The Sensory Home, this book has been written by Pippa Jameson (Ryland Pieters & Small are the publishers).